Paragard is a brand-name prescription birth control device. It’s FDA-approved to prevent pregnancy in females* of age any who are able to become pregnant.

Paragard can be used by females who either have or haven’t been pregnant in the past.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Paragard details

Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a small birth control device that’s placed inside your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Paragard contains copper as its active ingredient. It prevents pregnancy by stopping:

Each Paragard IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. Your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus at any time if you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period.

Paragard IUDs aren’t effective after 10 years of use. So, if you’d like to continue using this method of birth control after 10 years, you can ask your doctor to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

For more information about how this IUD works, see the “How Paragard works” section below.

Effectiveness

In studies, Paragard was effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 10 years. For more information about the effectiveness of Paragard, see the “Paragard for birth control” section below.

Paragard contains copper as its active ingredient. Paragard is available only in a brand-name form. It isn’t currently available in a generic form.

A generic form is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Paragard can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while using Paragard. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Paragard, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Paragard, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Paragard can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Paragard. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or view Paragard’s patient brochure.
† For more information about these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Paragard aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Actinomycosis (a rare condition in which an infection spreads from your vagina to other areas of your body). Symptoms can include:
    • lumps, pain, or swelling in your belly or pelvis
  • Sepsis (a life threatening condition that may result from a severe infection). Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
  • Serious infections in your uterus or pelvis, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Symptoms can include:
    • belly pain
    • chills or fever
    • constipation
    • fatigue (lack of energy)
    • painful sex
    • pelvic pain
    • unusual vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or during sex or bleeding that’s heavier or lasts longer than usual
    • vaginal discharge that smells or looks different than usual
  • Embedment (attachment of the IUD* to the wall of your uterus) or perforation (poking of the IUD through the wall of your uterus). These may not cause any symptoms, but possible symptoms of embedment or perforation can include:
    • belly pain
    • vaginal bleeding
  • Expulsion (the IUD either partially or completely falling out of your uterus).†
  • Allergic reaction.†

* Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). This is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

Paragard is approved for use in females* of any age who are able to become pregnant. Females are generally able to become pregnant after they’ve had their first period. This usually happens at around 12 years of age.

The side effects of Paragard are expected to be the same for all females who’ve gotten their period, regardless of their age. So, the side effects of Paragard in adolescents are expected to be the same as those in adults.

For more information, see the “Mild side effects” and “Serious side effects” lists above.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Cramps or pain after Paragard insertion

You may have cramps or pain after having Paragard inserted into your uterus. These side effects were common in clinical studies of the device. To find out how often these side effects occurred in the studies, see Paragard’s prescribing information.

Cramps or pain may occur while Paragard is being placed in your uterus. And you may continue to have cramps for several minutes after Paragard has been inserted. You may also have occasional cramps or painful periods for a few months after Paragard has been placed.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have severe cramps or pain that don’t go away soon after Paragard has been inserted. These symptoms could be a sign that Paragard isn’t placed correctly inside your uterus. Your doctor will likely examine you to see if Paragard needs to be adjusted or removed from your uterus.

In rare cases, having Paragard incorrectly placed in your uterus may cause severe infections, which can cause pain. Examples of these infections include actinomycosis and PID. Severe infections could lead to life threatening sepsis. (For more information about these conditions, see “Serious side effects” above.)

Spotting, bleeding, or period changes after Paragard insertion

You may have spotting, bleeding, or changes in your periods after Paragard has been inserted. These were common side effects in clinical studies of the device. To find out how often these side effects occurred in studies, see Paragard’s prescribing information.

Specifically, for several months after Paragard insertion, you may have the following side effects:

It’s important to note that vaginal bleeding can be a sign of serious side effects from Paragard. These side effects include infections in your uterus or pelvis, such as PID. (For more information, see “Serious side effects” above.)

Tell your doctor right away if you have heavy vaginal bleeding for several months after Paragard has been inserted. Also, tell them if you start having heavy bleeding after you’ve had light bleeding for several months.

If you’ve a missed period for at least 6 weeks while Paragard is in your uterus, tell your doctor. They’ll likely give you a pregnancy test to make sure Paragard is still working to prevent pregnancy.

Paragard expulsion

In rare cases, you may have expulsion of Paragard. With expulsion, the IUD partially or completely falls out of your uterus. This wasn’t a common side effect in clinical studies of the device. To find out how often this side effect occurred in studies, see Paragard’s prescribing information.

How to check Paragard’s placement

You’ll need to check to make sure Paragard is still in place in your uterus. So, at least once each month, you should feel for Paragard’s strings inside your vagina. Paragard IUDs have strings attached to them. When the IUD is in your uterus, these strings extend out of your uterus and into your vagina.

To check for your IUD strings, first wash your hands with soap and water. Then, insert clean fingers into your vagina and feel for the strings.

What to do if you can’t feel Paragard’s strings

If you’re unable to feel Paragard’s strings, the device may not be correctly positioned inside your uterus. In this case, you should visit your doctor for an exam to make sure Paragard is positioned correctly. You should also have your doctor perform an exam once each year to make sure the IUD is correctly positioned in your uterus.

Paragard won’t be effective in preventing pregnancy if it isn’t correctly positioned inside your uterus. If you’re sexually active and you think Paragard may be out of place, be sure to use a form of backup birth control. You should continue using the backup birth control until your doctor is able to check your IUD’s placement.

Examples of backup birth control methods include:

Allergic reaction

As with most devices, some people can have an allergic reaction after having Paragard inserted.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of your skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Paragard, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Other options are available for birth control. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Paragard, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Examples of other birth control options include:

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

You may wonder how Paragard compares with other options for birth control. To find out how Paragard compares with Mirena and Skyla, see this article.

Paragard is used to prevent pregnancy. But you may wonder if you can become pregnant while using Paragard. Or, you may wonder if you should continue using Paragard while pregnant.

Read on for more information about these topics.

Likelihood of becoming pregnant with Paragard

Abstinence is the only form of birth control that’s 100% effective for preventing pregnancy. So, in rare cases, you may still become pregnant while using Paragard for birth control.

This is more likely to happen if you have certain side effects from the IUD,* such as embedment, perforation, or expulsion. (With embedment, the IUD attaches to the wall of your uterus. And with perforation, the IUD pokes through the wall of your uterus.) For more information about these side effects, see the “Paragard side effects” section above.

While using Paragard, watch for the following possible pregnancy symptoms:

If you miss a period or think you may be pregnant while using Paragard, tell your doctor right away. They’ll likely give you a pregnancy test to check if you’re pregnant.

If you do become pregnant while using Paragard, your doctor will discuss whether if it’s safe for you to continue the pregnancy. For more information, see “Risks of using Paragard during pregnancy” just below.

* Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Risks of using Paragard during pregnancy

If you get pregnant with Paragard in place, tell your doctor right away. Paragard isn’t meant for use during pregnancy.

Having Paragard inside your uterus during pregnancy can cause serious complications, including:

Paragard and fertility

Paragard works to prevent pregnancy while it’s inside your uterus. After Paragard has been removed from your uterus, your fertility (ability to become or stay pregnant) should return to normal.

If you’re concerned about your ability to become pregnant after Paragard removal, talk with your doctor.

Paragard is used to prevent pregnancy. You typically won’t need to use other forms of birth control with Paragard.

Below, we describe other forms of birth control that may or may not be needed with Paragard.

Paragard and emergency contraception

Paragard can be used as emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after you’ve had sex without using any birth control.

But keep in mind that this is an off-label use of Paragard. (Off-label use means using a drug or device for a purpose other than its approved purpose.)

As emergency contraception, the Paragard IUD* can be placed in your uterus for up to 5 days after you’ve had unprotected sex.

However, you won’t need to use emergency contraception while Paragard is in your uterus. The IUD is effective by itself for preventing pregnancy.

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Paragard and STI prevention

Paragard doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They’re infections that pass from one person to another through sex.

To prevent STIs, you should use a barrier method of birth control along with Paragard, such as condoms.

Paragard can be used while breastfeeding.

Paragard contains copper as its active ingredient. Studies haven’t shown any differences in the amount of copper in human breast milk before Paragard IUD* insertion compared with after.

But if Paragard is inserted while you’re lactating (producing breast milk), you may have a higher risk for embedment or perforation. (With embedment, the IUD attaches to the wall of your uterus. And with perforation, the IUD pokes through the wall of your uterus.) For more information about these side effects, see the “Paragard side effects” section above.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed while using Paragard, talk with your doctor. They can discuss the risks and benefits of using this form of birth control while breastfeeding.

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Paragard is a type of prescription birth control called an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a small device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

The procedure to have Paragard inserted or removed can be completed in just a few minutes during a routine office visit. Below, we briefly describe these procedures.

Insertion procedure and steps

To insert Paragard, your doctor will have you lie down on an exam table and place your feet into stirrups. (This is the same position typically used during a pelvic exam.)

Your doctor will then insert a speculum into your vagina. This allows them to see your cervix. Then, they’ll clean your cervix and insert Paragard through your cervix and into your uterus.

Cramps or pain may occur while Paragard is being inserted. And you may continue to have cramps for several minutes after insertion. In rare cases, may also experience dizziness, nausea, slow heart rate, or seizures after insertion.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have severe cramps or pain that don’t go away soon after Paragard has been inserted. This could be a sign that Paragard isn’t placed correctly in your uterus. Your doctor will likely examine you to determine if Paragard needs to be adjusted or removed.

For a more detailed explanation of Paragard’s insertion steps, visit the manufacturer’s website. Or, read the drug’s prescribing information.

Removal procedure and steps

The steps used to remove Paragard are similar to those used for insertion. Your doctor will have you lie down on an exam table and place your feet into stirrups. Your doctor will then insert a speculum into your vagina. This allows them to see your cervix. Then, they’ll remove Paragard from your uterus by sliding it out through your cervix.

You may also have removal symptoms with Paragard. These are similar to the symptoms that can happen when Paragard is inserted. For example, cramps or pain may occur while Paragard is being removed. In rare cases, you may also experience dizziness, nausea, slow heart rate, or seizures after removal.

Once Paragard has been removed, your periods should return to normal. And keep in mind that you’ll no longer be protected from pregnancy, unless you use another form of birth control.

When it’s inserted or removed

The timing of Paragard’s insertion depends on a few factors, such as whether or not you’ve:

Your doctor can insert Paragard any time they’re able to confirm that you aren’t pregnant. To confirm that you aren’t pregnant, they may give you a pregnancy test.

Each Paragard IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. Your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus any time you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period.

Paragard IUDs aren’t effective after 10 years of use. So, if you’d like to continue using this form of birth control after the 10-year period, you can ask your doctor to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

Talk with your doctor about the best time for you to have Paragard inserted or removed.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs and devices such as Paragard to treat certain conditions. Paragard may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use means using a drug or device for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Paragard is a prescription birth control device. It’s FDA-approved to prevent pregnancy in females* of age any who are able to become pregnant.

Females are generally able to become pregnant after they’ve had their first period and until they reach menopause. This is usually between the ages of 12 years and 51 years. Paragard can be used by females who either have or haven’t been pregnant in the past.

Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a small birth control device that’s placed inside your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Each Paragard IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. Your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus any time you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period. But Paragard IUDs aren’t effective after 10 years of use. So, if you’d like to continue using this form of birth control after 10 years, you can ask your doctor to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

Paragard contains copper as its active ingredient. It prevents pregnancy by stopping:

For more information about how this IUD works, see the “How Paragard works” section below.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Effectiveness for birth control

In studies, Paragard was effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 10 years. For more information on how the drug performed in clinical studies, see Paragard’s prescribing information.

Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends IUDs (such as Paragard) as effective forms of birth control.

Paragard and children

Paragard is approved for use in females of any age who are able to become pregnant. Females are generally able to become pregnant after they’ve had their first period. This usually happens at around 12 years of age.

The effectiveness of Paragard is expected to be the same for all females who’ve gotten their period, regardless of their age. In fact, the ACOG recommends IUDs (such as Paragard) as safe and effective forms of birth control for adolescents.

If you have questions about the effectiveness of Paragard given your age, talk with your doctor.

Paragard is approved to prevent pregnancy in females* of age any who are able to become pregnant.

Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). This is a small birth control device that’s placed inside your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Each Paragard IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. But Paragard isn’t effective after 10 years of use. So, if you’d like to continue using this form of birth control after 10 years, you can ask your doctor to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

How pregnancy happens

Pregnancy occurs when a female’s egg is fertilized by a male’s sperm.

Each month during ovulation, eggs are released from the ovary. If fertilized, the eggs travel to the uterus and attach to the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. Pregnancy happens when the fertilized egg successfully implants into the uterus.

How Paragard prevents pregnancy

Paragard contains copper as its active ingredient. Copper prevents pregnancy in several ways:

  • by preventing sperm from reaching an egg
  • by preventing sperm from penetrating an egg
  • by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the lining inside the uterus

How long does it take to work?

Paragard is effective in preventing pregnancy immediately after being placed. It starts working as birth control as soon as it’s inserted into your uterus.

How long does Paragard’s effect last?

Each Paragard IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being placed. Your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus any time you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period.

Paragard isn’t effective after 10 years of use. So, if you’d like to continue using this form of birth control after 10 years, you can ask your doctor to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

After Paragard has been removed from your uterus, your fertility (ability to become or stay pregnant) should return to normal.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Paragard.

Does Paragard cause hormone-related side effects, such as weight gain, hair loss, or acne?

No, Paragard doesn’t cause these or other hormone-related side effects.

Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD)* that contains copper as its active ingredient. Copper isn’t a type of hormone.

Other IUDs (such as Kyleena and Mirena) do contain a hormone called levonorgestrel. And this hormone can cause side effects such as weight gain, hair loss, and acne. But these side effects weren’t reported in clinical studies of Paragard.

For more information about side effects that you might expect with Paragard, see the “Paragard side effects” section above.

* An IUD is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Is it safe to have an MRI scan if I’m using Paragard?

Yes, under certain conditions, it’s typically safe to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan while you’re using Paragard.

An MRI scan uses a magnetic field to create images of organs and tissues in your body. But this magnetic field can react with the copper in Paragard, causing the device to move or become overheated.

So, before having an MRI scan, tell your healthcare professional if you’re using Paragard. They’ll adjust the settings on the MRI machine to make the scan safe for you.

How soon after having Paragard placed can I have sex?

You can have sex as soon as you’re comfortable doing so after having Paragard placed.

Paragard is effective in preventing pregnancy immediately after being placed in your uterus. It starts working as birth control as soon as it’s inserted.

But keep in mind that you may have cramps or pain after Paragard insertion. And you may continue to have cramps for a short time after Paragard has been inserted. Painful sex is also a possible side effect of Paragard.

If you or your partner experience pain or discomfort during sex after Paragard has been inserted, talk with your doctor. They’ll likely give you an exam to make sure the device is correctly positioned in your uterus.

Will I be able to get pregnant after having Paragard IUD removed?

Yes, your fertility (ability to become or stay pregnant) should return to normal right after Paragard has been removed from your uterus.

Each Paragard IUD* prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. Your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus any time you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period.

If you’re concerned about your ability to become pregnant after Paragard has been removed, talk with your doctor.

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Can Paragard be used for emergency contraception?

Yes, Paragard can be used as emergency contraception. But keep in mind that this is an off-label use of Paragard. (Off-label use means using a drug or device for a purpose other than its approved purpose.)

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after you’ve had sex without using a form of birth control. The Paragard IUD* can be placed for up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.

If you have questions about using Paragard as emergency contraception, talk with your doctor.

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

What are possible complications with Paragard?

There are several possible complications with Paragard IUD.* And these can be particularly serious if the device moves out of place in your uterus or if it’s used during pregnancy.

Examples of Paragard complications include:

  • embedment (attachment of the IUD to the wall of your uterus)
  • expulsion (the IUD partially or completely falls out of your uterus)
  • miscarriage (loss of pregnancy)
  • perforation (poking of the IUD through the wall of your uterus)
  • sepsis (a life threatening condition that may result from a severe infection)
  • serious infections, such as actinomycosis (a rare condition in which an infection spreads from your vagina to other areas of your body) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

For more detailed information, see the “Paragard side effects” and “Paragard and pregnancy” sections above.

* An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

As with all medications, the cost of Paragard can vary. To find current prices for Paragard in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan. You won’t get Paragard at a pharmacy. The device is inserted by a healthcare professional in a doctor’s office or clinic. So, the cost of Paragard will also depend on the cost of your visit to have the device placed.

Before approving coverage for Paragard, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the device. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the device will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Paragard, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Paragard, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Because Paragard is birth control, its cost may be covered under the Affordable Care Act.

For information on contacting your insurance company to see if Paragard is covered, visit the manufacturer’s website. Its website also provides guidance on finding the cost of Paragard if you don’t have insurance coverage.

Generic version

Paragard isn’t available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Before using Paragard, talk with your doctor about your health history. Paragard may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Cervical cancer or uterine cancer. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you currently have or have had cancer in your cervix or uterus. Be sure to tell your doctor about any forms of cancer you currently have or have had in the past.
  • Conditions that affect the shape of your uterus. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you have any health conditions that affect the shape of your uterus, such as fibroids. These conditions can prevent Paragard from being correctly positioned inside your uterus. And this could make Paragard less effective in preventing pregnancy. Before using Paragard, tell your doctor if you have any conditions that affect the shape of your uterus.
  • Copper allergy. Copper is the active ingredient in Paragard. So, you shouldn’t use Paragard if you have a copper allergy. Before using Paragard, tell your doctor if you’re allergic to copper.
  • Dizziness, slow heart rate, or seizures. You may have dizziness, slow heart rate, or seizures after Paragard is inserted into or removed from your uterus. Your risk for these side effects is higher if you’ve experienced these conditions in the past. Be sure to tell your doctor about any dizziness, heart problems, or seizure problems you have before using Paragard.
  • Infection in your uterus after a pregnancy or abortion within the past 3 months. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you’ve had an infection in your uterus after a pregnancy or abortion in the past 3 months. This is because Paragard can increase your risk for infection in your uterus. Your risk for this side effect is even higher if you’ve had a recent infection. Tell your doctor about any recent infections you’ve had before using Paragard.
  • Recently given birth or had an abortion. If you’ve recently given birth or had an abortion, you may have a higher risk for expulsion while using Paragard. (With expulsion, Paragard either partially or completely falls out of your uterus.) After you’ve given birth or had an abortion, talk with your doctor about the best time to have Paragard inserted.
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding. This includes bleeding between periods. It also includes periods that last longer than usual or cause heavier bleeding than usual. These symptoms may signal a serious infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). (For more information about PID, see the “Paragard side effects” section above.) Tell your doctor right away if you have heavy vaginal bleeding for several months after Paragard has been inserted. Also, tell them if you start having heavy bleeding after you’ve had light bleeding for several months.
  • Infections in your cervix, pelvis, or vagina that haven’t been treated, including PID. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you have an untreated infection in your cervix, pelvis, or vagina. This includes PID. Using Paragard can increase your risk for getting another infection. Before using Paragard, talk with your doctor about any infections you have.
  • Wilson’s disease. You shouldn’t use Paragard if you have Wilson’s disease. With this condition, your body isn’t able to get rid of copper. Copper is the active ingredient in Paragard. So, using Paragard if you have Wilson’s disease could lead to copper toxicity. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have Wilson’s disease before using Paragard.
  • Pregnancy. Paragard is used to prevent pregnancy. The device isn’t meant to be used during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Paragard and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. Paragard can be used while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Paragard and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Paragard, see the “Paragard side effects” section above.

The information below describes the usual dosage of Paragard. Because Paragard only comes in one strength, everyone using the drug will receive the same dosage.

Drug form and strength

Paragard is an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a birth control device that’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional.

Copper is the active ingredient in Paragard. Each Paragard IUD contains 313.4 milligrams (mg) of copper.

Dosage for birth control

Paragard is approved to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted. Each Paragard IUD can be used for up to 10 years.

However, your doctor can remove Paragard from your uterus any time you’d like to stop using it within the 10-year period. And if you’d like to continue using this method of birth control after 10 years of use, you can ask your doctor to replace your current Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD.

Children’s dosage

Paragard is approved for use in females* of any age who are able to become pregnant. Females are generally able to become pregnant after they’ve had their first period. This usually happens at around 12 years of age.

The dosage of Paragard is the same for all females who’ve gotten their period, regardless of their age. So, the dosage of Paragard for females younger than 18 years of age is the same as the dosage for adults.

For more information, see the “Dosage for birth control” section above.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

What if I miss a dose?

Paragard is inserted into your uterus by a healthcare professional. Each Paragard IUD can remain in your uterus for up to 10 years. So, it isn’t possible to miss a dose of Paragard while the device is in place.

In rare cases, you may experience expulsion. (With expulsion, the IUD partially or completely falls out of your uterus.) If this happens, Paragard won’t be effective in preventing pregnancy.

For this reason, you’ll need to periodically check that Paragard is still in place in your uterus. At least once each month, you should feel for Paragard’s strings inside your vagina. Paragard IUDs have strings attached to the devices. When the IUD is in your uterus, these strings extend out of your uterus and into your vagina.

To check for your IUD strings, first wash your hands with soap and water. Then, insert clean fingers into your vagina and feel for the strings.

You should also have your doctor perform an exam once each year to make sure Paragard is correctly positioned.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

If needed, Paragard can be used as a long-term form of birth control. Each Paragard device is approved to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years after being inserted.

If you and your doctor determine that Paragard is safe and effective for you, you can continue using this form of birth control for more than 10 years. In this case, your doctor will need to replace your Paragard IUD with another Paragard IUD. This is because each Paragard device is only effective for 10 years.

There aren’t any known interactions between Paragard and alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about the amount that’s safe for you to drink while using Paragard.

Paragard isn’t known to interact with other medications, herbs, supplements, or foods. The manufacturer of Paragard didn’t look at interactions in clinical studies of this device.

However, this doesn’t mean that interactions can’t happen with Paragard.

Before using Paragard, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist. And if you have any questions about eating certain foods with Paragard, talk with your doctor.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.